If I Don’t Agree With The Alimony Judgement, Can I Refuse To Pay?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Being forced by the court to pay your ex for alimony is certainly not the most fun thing to do. After separation, the topic of alimony can be a heated one. Especially since most couples who go their separate ways don’t want to be reminded of their ex and the last thing they want is to give them some of their money. But, the court may have determined that one person has to pay their ex alimony as a way to help the other get back onto their feet. Here we have explained why refusing to pay out of spite may end up making things worse for you in the end: 

What can I do if I think the ruling is unfair?

One thing most of us learn in life is that things aren’t always fair. If one ex isn’t happy with the verdict, instead of just refusing to pay they can appeal the judgement. It isn’t a good idea to purposefully halt payments if the outcome didn’t pan out in your favor. Failing to pay alimony after being enforced by the court may result in indirect civil contempt of court, losing your license, or even being viewed as in criminal contempt of court in some states. 

What if I can’t pay the alimony amount?

If failing to pay alimony occurs, the court may take into consideration whether that person makes enough money to afford such payments. The more severe punishments are typically reserved for exes who don’t pay but make well more than enough to satisfy the payment terms established by the court. Not paying one or a couple payments due to timing or paperwork errors is usually forgiven by the court.

However, if it appears that you are attempting to deceive the court and/or your former spouse, then chances are they won’t be very kind when it comes to repercussions. If you contact the court and notify them that you are struggling to make payments, then it shows the court you are trying to be transparent and do what you can to abide by alimony terms. 

Can I return to court to request modification?

An experienced family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA, like from Robinson & Hadeed, can help you request a modification for alimony. Keep in mind that you will need to make a strong case for yourself as to why the adjustment is necessary. Be prepared to bring documentation that supports your claims and what amount you would be able to pay on a recurring basis. Some common reasons why alimony gets approved for modification include:

  • The former spouse got a new job and is now self-sufficient
  • The former spouse used to earn less during the marriage, and now earns more than the other
  • The former spouse is now living with a new partner and has someone to help support living expenses
  • The paying spouse cannot financially afford payments due to a change in job, medical condition, or injury